Can You Get Braces Just for Your Top or Bottom Teeth?
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Table of Contents
- Braces for Bottom Teeth
- Braces for Top Teeth
- How Braces Help
- Risks of Single-Arch Treatment
- Recommended Approach
- Twice the Braces
- Which Is More Popular?
Yes, you can get braces on either the top or bottom, without getting braces for both jaws. This is generally because you only have a few misaligned teeth in one location.
However, this approach may not necessarily be faster or less expensive. There might be some underlying dental alignment problems that could benefit from having braces on both jaws.
Braces for Bottom Teeth
When braces are applied to only one jaw (either the upper or lower), it is single-arch treatment or one-arch orthodontic treatment.
Braces may be applied to only the bottom teeth in rare cases, such as these:
- Children who are just beginning orthodontic treatment and have most of their issues in their bottom teeth
- Individuals whose upper teeth are relatively straight and have only very minor malocclusion (teeth misalignment issues) with their bottom teeth
Bottom-only braces may also be an option for those with a significant overbite who have straight top teeth and crowding in the bottom teeth. This method could help the bottom teeth to move forward, minimizing the overbite.
Braces for Top Teeth
Braces on the top teeth only is another form of single-arch treatment. Again, while these cases are rare, an orthodontist may recommend top teeth-only braces for people who fit these criteria:
- Are still in the development phase of teeth and jaw growth (children and adolescents) and beginning a multi-phase orthodontic treatment
- Have straight bottom teeth but minor malocclusion issues with the top teeth
Braces for top teeth only may be effective for those with an overbite, straight bottom teeth, and gaps in their upper teeth. This is because closing gaps tends to move teeth back, and this can reduce or eliminate the overbite.
Because treating crowded teeth tends to move them forward, braces on the top teeth could also work to fix an underbite (when the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth) if the underbite features straight bottom teeth and crowded top teeth.
More than Beauty: How Braces Help your Bite
A healthy, beautiful smile exposes all of your central and lateral upper incisors, beauty experts say. The rest of your teeth stay covered by your lips when you smile. Shouldn't you focus your braces on the parts of your teeth others can see?
It's critical to remember that your teeth aren't beauty accessories. You also use those teeth for tasks like these:
Risks of Single-Arch Treatment
Your teeth don't work in isolation. Upper and lower sets come together to form your bite, and even tiny adjustments can have big repercussions.
Adjust just one part of your mouth, and your front and back teeth could come together with excessive force, experts say. You could chip or crack your teeth each time the set comes together. You could also exert too much pressure on your bone and gums.
Conversely, changing just one part of your bite could stop your teeth from meeting at all. A big gap could make chewing impossible, and it could put excess strain on your muscles and tendons.
Do Experts Recommend this Approach?
Dental professionals are concerned with cosmetic factors. They want your smile to look as beautiful as possible. But they are also concerned with mouth mechanics and overall health. You might notice that only one part of your teeth looks crooked or unusual. A dental professional might see something very different. \ \ Some dentists say single-arch braces are appropriate for minor tooth movement, including these issues:
- Mild overbites
- Overlapping teeth
- Minor crowding
- Tiny spaces between teeth
But other exerts, including aligner companies like Byte, don't offer this form of treatment. Teeth should be adjusted in unison, they say, and it's just too risky to treat some teeth while leaving the others untouched.
Will you Save Money?
Consumers often think of dental treatments as packages. If you cut the needed therapy in half by treating one set of teeth and not the other, you should save money, right? Experts don't always agree.
To adjust your smile, dental professionals must do the following:
Assess Your Teeth
Create A Plan
Supervise The Moves
These same steps apply whether you're moving one set of teeth or both. If you're hoping to skip movement on one arch to save a chunk of money, you might be disappointed.
Twice the Braces
You want to improve your smile, but you want to save money. And you want to ease pain. There are plenty of things you can do to meet your goals without putting your health and your bite at risk.
If you're considering single-arch braces due to these common concerns, it's time to think again. Here are some of the disadvantages:
Are Braces on the Top or Bottom Teeth more Popular?
Because the upper teeth are more noticeable, and the most common type of malocclusion is class 1 malocclusion (which often involves teeth misalignment in the upper teeth), when it comes to single-arch treatment, braces on the top teeth may be more popular.
However, single-arch treatments are not popular in general, as most orthodontists and aligner providers prefer to treat the bite as a whole. This is because they know how closely the upper and lower jaw and teeth interact with one another and how much more effective and predictable two-arch (regular) orthodontic treatment is in general.
Smile Science: The Anatomy of a Smile. (September 2011). Portland Monthly.
Does Your Child Really Need Braces? Reader’s Digest Canada.
Is Single Arch Treatment Good for Your Patients? (October 2017). Orca Dental.
Frequently Asked Questions. Byte.